4 October 2012


We have added a few pages to the blog since finishing in the hope that it will be on interest to some of those who follow in our footsteps. 

If you have got any questions please feel free to email me. philippadaley@googlemail.com
Thank you.

28 April 2012

The End - Bluff

We've made it!!

Onwards to Invercargill

We had a final rest day in Riverton during which I scrubbed all my gear and Madeleline read.  The following day we walked out of Riverton and along the Oreti beach heading for Invercargill.  

The beach was beautiful and deserted except for the Oyster catchers (black birds with red beaks).  The last time we had seen them was on the north island - it really felt like the journey was going full circle and nearing completion.      

On our way out of Riverton

Oreti Beach

Cheese board selection - Luxury on the trail at last!!

24 April 2012

Onwards to Colac Bay & Riverton

During the next two and a half days we walked across farmland, through more forests and occasionally on minor roads or farm tracks.

The friendliness of the Kiwi people is, as ever, outstanding and although we saw few people at least three vehicles stopped and their occupants asked where we were walking from and how far we had come.

We emerged this  morning from the forest and made our way to Colac Bay our first real point of civilisation in 8 days.  Although the Colac Bay Tavern didn't officially open for a couple of hours the owners Jilly and Wazzer welcomed us in.

Bluff is famous for its oysters and Wazzer insisted that I tried one....  I did, then had to sit motionless for the fear that i wouldn't be able to keep it down.  It is the first and last oyster I will eat in my lifetime!  Thanks for the experience Wazzer.

After a rest we walked on along the beach to the small town of Riverton.  I walked into the hostel and a total stranger said to me "You are doing the Te Araroa, I've read your blog"!! 

We are now just two days from Bluff.  I have mixed feelings about finishing the trail although excited to complete the 'mission' I will also be very sad that the adventure that the Te Araroa has been, for the last five months, has drawn to an end. 

If the weather forecast is good for the next few days we will probably have a rest day tomorrow and so our anticipated arrival date at Bluff will be the afternoon of Friday 27th.

A nice steep climb for Madeleine!!

A very lumpy camp site

That is Bluff in the distance

The last hill
The last hut - Martin's Hut

The last camp site

Sunrise - Ohh and I think it's Bluff peaking in the distance!


Takitimu Track

We hitched back to where we had left the trail to continue south.  Apart from our packs being heavy, again, with so much food it all started well.  A flat and easy trail led to the first hut and into the forest but things quickly deteriorated once in the forest.

The trip notes state that "The ground trail is light, or non-existent, so care and concentration is required to travel from marker to marker."  Not an understatement!!  We would spot an orange marker and then battle our way to it as best as we could scrambling over fallen trees and fighting with the vegetation.  The forest was very beautiful and we were followed by fantails, cute little black and white birds that feed on the flies we disturb as we walk along. At times we came out of the forest and had to make our way through crazy tussock grasses that were chest high.

At one point Madeleine started to sob that she hated the trail!  Rather than camp she wanted to push on to the next hut as the nights had been pretty chilly so we walked by head torch and used the GPS to navigate for the last kilometre or two.  I think it was wise that we did, as that night there was a harsh frost and in the morning the ground was frozen.  It would have been a very chilly night in our tents.

Although, the going was tough on some sections we made good progress and so had a couple of days when we only walked until just after lunch. 

At one point we emerged from the forest onto a rocky outcrop where in the distance we could see the South coast of the South Island of New Zealand.  It was still a long way off but it was in sight!!

Sheep along our way to Lower Princhester Hut

Easy to follow that path - not!

Early moring frost

The famous orange markers!  You would think they were easy to spot ehh?

Lots of birdlife

Out of the forest

Our first sighting of the south coast

Mavora Walkway

We then walked a section the Greenstone trail which oddly enough I had walked on my last visit to New Zealand 20 years before!

It never fails to amaze me how small New Zealand is. At the Greenstone hut we spent a night with a couple, he worked in an outdoor store in Auckland and had sold Madeleine's tent to her; his wife was a nurse and worked with Ella a lovely lady who had put us up for a night on the North Island.

As we approached the Marora Lakes the weather was moody and the light most unusual, couldn't capture it on my tiny camera.

There was some great signage on the Mararoa River Track.  It could you the false impression that there was any sort of ground trail - there wasn't we just had to battle our way through scrub and bogs and at seemly random moments when desperation was about to strike there would be an orange marker. 

When we reached Princhester road we hitch-hiked to the small town of Te Anau where we had a had a half day of rest and resupplied.  It was our last BIG shop of the trail, an eight day stretch would take us to take us to the south coast.

Strolling through along the Greenstone track

Lovely lunch spot - shame about the sandflies!

Rolling under the fence

Mavora Lakes

Mavora Lakes

The signage looked as though there would be a path to follow!

The last big resupply

South from Queenstown

I'd managed to arrange for us to kayak across the Lake Wakatipu which the Te Araroa Trust labels as a Hazard Zone and advices taking a shuttle bus to the next track.  It is a huge lake and can only be tackled in the right weather conditions.  To my disappointment on our scheduled day of departure the wind was up and the lake was wavy so we had to abandon that plan and instead opted for a ride on a vintage steamship the Earnslaw.

We said our goodbyes to Phil leaving him to head off to explore New Zealand alone and went to buy our tickets for the Earnslaw.  We were informed that it was having engine troubles and it might not depart.  Ummm the Earnslaw was built in the same year as the Titanic and it was Friday 13th the same date the Titanic sunk!!  Maybe the shuttle bus wasn't such a bad idea...  The Steamer did depart, I made sure I knew exactly where the life boats where - just in case!

We were fortunate that we had gained the permission of a private land owner to walk to the start of our next trail head. 

Setting off on the Earnslaw

The Life Boat!

17 April 2012

Nearly there !!!

Alas I am unable to upload pictures from this computer so will have to do a fuller update some time soon.

We are now just 10 days from reaching Bluff - can't believe it!!!

We are both pretty tired and our feet hurt but we are so excited to nearly be there. 

12 April 2012

Into Arrowtown and Queenstown

Big Hill track was as its name suggests, a big hill from where we made our way to Arrowtown.  Arrowtown is a former gold mining town which now makes its money from tourists.  It is very cute and I could have easily spend another day there wondering from cafe to cafe but we just spent the one night.  Queenstown was calling. 

Wet feet AGAIN!

Lunch spot


For ages we have looked at Queenstown on the map and it always looked so very far away - now we finally arrived surely it can't be far to Bluff???

Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown

Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown

Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown

We manged to get Madeleine's tent pole repaired today and to our amazement we were asked to pay in beer, which we did.  I won't say which outdoor store it was that the guy worked in but I am sure his head office aren't aware that payment is accepted in cash, credit card and beer!

Tomorrow Madeline and I will continue south.   Phil will stay a little longer in Queenstown and have a couple of weeks to travel around New Zealand.  It has been great to have his company - I think it gave us both a lift at a time when we were tired.

Motatapu Alpine Track

Leaving the lakes behind us we once again headed into alpine territory.  Fortunately there were huts that we could stay in all the way all of which were nice, new and rodent free!! 

Since Madeleine's tent pole broke camping has been rather cosy - to say the least.  Madeleine slept in my tent and I have shared Phil's one man tent with him!!  It does work but it is impossible for either of us to lie on our backs and we have to coordinate when we role over to change sides!! 
Fern Burn Hut

A long way down

Can you see the path?

Are we nearly there?

We had great weather  for all except the last day when the clouds descended. 
Low cloud hiding the mountains